Shopper's blunt reaction to Aldi watermelon product: 'Enormous no'

Customers have a few concerns about Aldi's new packaged watermelon offering.

A “big, fat, enormous no” is how one Aldi customer responded to a photograph revealing the supermarket is selling watermelons in single-use plastic boxes.

The comment, posted under a photo on Facebook, highlights growing consumer concern about single-use packaging on food. “I think it’s important to reduce plastic,” another person wrote. “What a waste,” someone else added.

Others were irked by the price noting it cost $6.99 for 850 grams, calling it a “rort”. Another person quipped, “Watermelon used to be one of the cheapest fruits you can buy, now it’s out of control". Uncut watermelon is selling at a number of stores in NSW for between 99 cents and $2 a kilogram.

Aldi's plastic packaged watermelon has left some shoppers irate. Source: Facebook/Yahoo
Aldi's plastic packaged watermelon has left some shoppers irate. Source: Facebook/Yahoo

Aldi’s own website encourages shoppers to “choose unwrapped fresh produce, where possible”. While watermelon isn’t mentioned, it notes “bananas and kiwi fruit that have their own natural packaging are great Nude Food options”.

In response to Australian consumer concerns, the German-owned retailer issued a statement. "With fresh produce, especially produce that has been prepared for convenience, there are not always suitable plastic-free packaging options, however the container and lid of the freshly cut watermelon are recyclable in a customer’s kerbside recycling bin," it said.

A minority of respondents appeared to support Aldi, with one person saying they didn't like eating the large fruit unless it had been prepared for them. Another said they believed it would prevent the wastage which would occur if they bought a larger slice.

Campaigner dubs Aldi watermelon boxes 'ridiculous'

Anti-plastic campaigner Jeff Angel told Yahoo News Australia the packaging was “ridiculous”. “They need to get their act together. In the era of extreme concern about plastic pollution, all the supermarkets including Aldi, need to fix this problem and revert to a much lower plastic footprint.”

The supermarket has committed to reducing plastic packaging by 25 per cent by 2025. Looking at the image of the plastic-boxed watermelon, Mr Angel questioned the brand’s authenticity of the brand’s environmentally conscious marketing. “Either they’re concerned about plastic… or their public statements about it are just greenwashing.”

He believes the packets of watermelon slices lend themselves to being eaten outdoors for lunch or at a picnic. “It's a dangerous practice it wastes resources, it contributes to litter… that will be dumped in bins, sent to landfill, or worst — left at our parks and beaches.”

It’s not the first time supermarkets have angered consumers by their plastic use. Woolworths also came under fire last year for selling cut vegetables in similar single-use plastic boxes.

In early November, the Redcycle soft plastic recycling scheme facilitated by Coles and Woolworths collapsed. Despite federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek calling for the supermarkets “to come up with a viable solution”, as of January 31, the nation remains unable to recycle soft plastics.

Trying to understand how much plastic Aldi, Coles and Woolworths use, Yahoo News Australia sent the supermarkets seven questions about the issue, none of which were answered directly.

In a piece of positive environmental news, Coles announced this month it would trial selling KitKat bars in paper for a limited time at stores in Western Australia, South Australia and Northern Territory.

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